Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Should You Attend Business Conferences?

Business conferences are about exposing people to new information in a particular industry and staying up to date with your industry trends. However, during the past decade, we have seen a steady decline in how many companies attend business conferences. There are a few reasons for this decline:
  • Search engines and websites have provided most companies with the tools they need to research and present their offerings, without needing to leave the company
  • There’s no need to wait for an annual show to familiarize yourself with the latest developments in an industry. You can now get updates in monthly or weekly newsletters, or even RSS feeds from a reliable source
  • Social media sites and online forums have made it easy to build online communities where contacts can meet and exchange information—whether through webinars, chats or virtual conferencing.
  • Investing in travel costs, exhibition costs, and time needs to be justified. The recent economic downturn has thus discouraged many companies from sending individuals to attend business conferences.
  • On top of everything, the events of 9/11 introduced many long and tedious security procedures. Traveling by plane is no longer as convenient and many do not feel as comfortable as before with flying to attend conferences.
So, these days, business conferences aren’t as crucial as they used to be. For most companies, I wouldn’t recommend to attend business conferences. There are exceptions for some industries, however. Sometimes, the opportunity to network in person at business conferences can be too important to pass up. Sometimes, there is regional interest or a very closed industry community, where meeting in person is more valuable than meeting online. Generally the best approach is to attend conferences where you can secure speaking opportunities in front of your target market. This will give you added visibility and credibility, which can yield new client leads.

Contact me and I can assess whether you could benefit from attending certain business conferences and help you secure speaking engagements.